Technology

Senate votes to proceed to bill to help semiconductor industry

The Senate voted Tuesday evening to proceed to a legislative vehicle that will carry legislation to provide $52 billion to the domestic semiconductor manufacturing industry and help the United States compete with China.  

The 64-34 vote sets up final Senate action on part of a bill the Senate passed more than a year ago, the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act. The legislation has been stalled for months in a Senate-House conference negotiation.  

The original Senate-passed bill provided $250 billion to help U.S. companies compete with China as well as a large package of trade provisions negotiated by Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho). The bill coming to the floor this week has been whittled down substantially.  

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that, at a minimum, it will provide $52 billion to domestic semiconductor industry as well as an investment tax credit.  

Schumer told reporters the bill is something “our country desperately, desperately needs.”  

He said if the motion to proceed passes with a large margin, he will add tens of billions of dollars to reform the National Science Foundation.  

“This will be a test vote and the outcome will decide whether the science portion of USICA is included,” he said. “If we get enough to pass it, which means some comfortable room — 60 votes — I will put the science provision in.”  

“It is my preference for the Senate to include the science provisions in this bill because they are so important for the future of our country,” he said shortly before the floor vote.  

The science section would provide $20 billion to establish a tech directorate within the National Science Foundation.

The bill received pushback from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who took to the floor to criticize what he called “massive corporate welfare” for the profitable semiconductor industry.  

“I hear a lot of concern about the deficit here in the Senate, and I hear people say, ‘We can’t afford to feed hungry children, can’t afford to deal with climate change, we can’t afford to guarantee health care to all,'” Sanders argued. “You might want to also take into account tax break and corporate welfare for large, profitable corporations.”

Tags Bernie Sanders Charles Schumer China CHiPs Congress Ron Wyden semi-conductor
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